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SAY CHEESE! Eastern Partnership Family Album: Capacity Building, Networking and Promotion of Thematic Eastern Partnership Photography


The project aimed to develop the photography presenting the Eastern Partnership as a common yet versatile region. The project fostered cooperation between photographers from the EaP and enhanced business and educational opportunities for both professionals and amateurs.



Seminars, contests, plein airs – all such activities within the project helped the photographers to learn about and creatively change photo trends in the Eastern Partnership region. More importantly, thanks to the project, its participants built social networks thus making new initiatives, both within and outside the project, easier to realize,– Marina Borisova, Project's Communication and Visibility Manager.




Despite being a potentially lucrative creative industry, photography in the Eastern Partnership countries is still hindered by the certain financial, historical, and political factors. Without strong professional ties, educational, and market opportunities, photographers cannot convey an image of the Eastern Partnership as a region with unique culture, nature, and wide investment opportunities. 

Therefore, SAY CHEESE! project helped to develop photography in the Eastern Partnership region in the following directions:



© Nino Mghebrishvili (Georgia), at the Belarusian SAY CHEESE! photo plein air, August 2014​




© Mzia Leikveishvili, Georgian photographer


SAY CHEESE! helped the Association of Photographers of Georgia to join the Federation of European Professional Photographers. As a result, in 2013, I managed to obtain the prestigious qualification of European Photographer that is awarded by the Federation. This is a distinguishing point in my CV that has recently allowed me to win an offer to take pictures for an international organization.” – Mzia Leikveishvili, Georgian photographer.






The conference "Photography in the Eastern Partnership Countries: Problems and Solutions" was accompanied by several round tables on the most pressing issues as well as the photo exhibition "Document and Image: When Photo Journalism Turns into Art" where Belarusian photo journalists presented their works together with participants of the photo associations of Armenia, Goergia, and Azerbaijan. 



The qualification significantly increases competitive standings of those who boast it.​ ​​​In December 2013, Georgian photographer Mzia Lekveishvili's photo (see it above) became the cover picture for the FEP's Facebook page. And Ruben Shkhikyan’ photo from Armenia was recognized as the best cover picture for the entire year of 2013.




© Alexander Vodolazski, at the Armenian SAY CHEESE! photo plein air, October 2014




In other words, the project has revived professional and creative links between photographers in six Eastern Partnership countries: photographers learn from each other, benefit from new professional opportunities, come up with high-quality photos inspired by each other’s cultures and experiences, plan new common initiatives. Before the project, such links and opportunities had been almost non-existent since the collapse of the USSR.




Furthermore, the best photos were published in a professional online magazine for photographers from the Eastern Partnership and presented at the exhibitions "We are the Eastern Partnership" in spring-summer 2015. Learn more







Overall objective: To enhance development of the so-called thematic Eastern Partnership photography (photography that demonstrates Eastern Partnership countries from various angles, such as culture, people, way of life, nature, cities and regions, business development, tourism opportunities etc.) in the Eastern Partnership region and to contribute to the creation of the positive image of Eastern Partnership within the region and beyond it.  

Specific objectives:

1. To enhance capacities of Eastern Partnership photographers' associations and to encourage their networking with each other.

2. To enhance capacities and abilities of local professional and amateur photographers in the EaP region to create and sell high quality thematic Eastern Partnership photos.

3. To promote thematic EaP photography at the EaP, the EU and international levels.



The Eastern Partnership Culture Program provides both technical assistance to address specific priority needs of public institutions and the cultural sector of the region, and grants to civil society cultural organisations – profit and non-profit - and national and local institutions for regional cooperation projects. The overall objective is to support the role of culture in the sustainable development of the region and promote regional cooperation among public institutions, civil society, cultural and academic organisations in the Eastern Partnership region and with the European Union. Learn more




Marina Borisova, Project's Communication and Visibility Manager, Deputy Head of Interakcia Foundation

+ 375 29 873 35 82 (mobile); + 375 17 237 48 40 (tel./fax);

Anna Razhentsova, PR Manager

+ 375 44 758 88 15, + 375 29 509 28 48 (mobile); + 375 17 334 24 76 (tel.);